Commuters’ anger at yet more major rail delays on Norwich to London line

Over-running engineering work has delayed train services between Norwich and London. Photo: Bill Smith Over-running engineering work has delayed train services between Norwich and London. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
11:14 AM

Rush-hour commuters have again been hit with delays and cancellations because of over-running engineering works at Ipswich – two weeks after Network Rail bosses pledged the issue would not be repeated.

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"We are sorry for the disruption that passengers are experiencing today on routes through Ipswich."

Network Rail spokesperson

A signalling equipment fault between Ipswich and Manningtree and a broken down train between Colchester and Manningtree added to this morning’s train problems on the Norwich to London line.

Commuters wanting to travel from Norwich to London were being advised to travel from Norwich via Ely and Cambridge to Liverpool Street or King’s Cross - or delay their journeys.

The line reopened at 11am, but disruption has continued for most of today.

The news has come just hours after Network Rail bosses said they were confident the work would be completed on time and trains would be running as normal between London and the region following the two-day track closure at Ipswich.

Reporter Rebecca Murphy was caught up in the disruption

This is the third week I have made the daily commute from Stowmarket to Norwich and despite a few delays and cancelled trains, mainly in the evening on my way home, my service has not been affected as badly as others.

This morning however, my 7.55am train to Norwich was cancelled and I had to wait until 8.35am until the next service. On the platform at Stowmarket people were annoyed, especially those who got off the Norwich to Stowmarket service as they had to catch trains to Ipswich and faced further delays.

Many were annoyed with the over-running engineering works but were understanding of the signalling problems.

What was frustrating most for commuters was the lack of communication informing them of what was happening.

I was informed by one Greater Anglia worker to take a Peterborough bound train and get off at Ely to make my way to Norwich to then be told by another worker that if I waited at Stowmarket there would be a service running to Norwich.

I was not alone.

A woman on the train told me she missed an interview in London this morning because she was told the train from Norwich was going through to London Liverpool Street.

However, once the service reached Stowmarket it travelled back to Norwich. She stayed on the train and travelled back to Norwich and was hoping to attend another interview in Manchester.

It is the tenth time in six years the company has been unable to complete work on schedule on the Great Eastern Main Line.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are undertaking significant work to replace tracks and signalling around Ipswich to give passengers the reliable service they expect.

“Our engineers encountered major problems overnight integrating the equipment with the existing 30-year-old tracks and signals that are in place.

“We know how important it is to complete our work on time, which is why we built eight hours contingency into our work this bank holiday weekend. “Unfortunately, such is the extent of the problems we encountered that we are still working to bring all the lines safely into operation.

“We recognise this is unacceptable and are now re-thinking our approach to the improvement work required for Ipswich, given the severity of the problems we are encountering.

“An in-depth review of the entire upgrade programme is under way which will limit the risk of work overrunning in future.

“We are working to get the railway operating as soon as possible but anticipate that the East Suffolk line will continue to be disrupted for most of the day as well as the line from Ipswich to Felixstowe.”

Steve Beardwell, 61, who works for Aviva, travels daily from Chelmsford to Norwich said he was frustrated with the lack of communication.

He said: “There is no information. I left Chelmsford because I was not told there were no trains running past Ipswich. I would have taken my car and driven to Norwich had I known.

“Over the last three months this is the third big incident that has happened. They must have known the works were going to overrun yesterday, so why hasn’t more been done? I understand things go wrong but I just feel that there is poor communication from those at Greater Anglia.”

Matthew Nobel, 19, an accountant working in Norwich, travelling from Diss, said: “This morning hasn’t been good. I only started my job three weeks ago and although there have been a few delays; it had been all right so far. But I guess I will have to hope this does not continues to happen in the future.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We are sorry for the disruption that has affected train services as a result of engineering work overrunning in the Ipswich area and for the frustration and inconvenience to journeys this has caused to our customers. It is extremely important that Network Rail completes engineering works on time. We are reviewing Network Rail’s engineering work programme going forward to identify actions to reduce the scope of the works, and we intend to propose revisions to the programme to help remove the risk of overruns.

“In respect of this morning’s disruption, we made every effort to provide regular service updates to our customers as information became available to us from Network Rail.

“We also continue to look at ways of improving the provision of information to our customers when service disruption occurs.”

• Passengers are being advised to check service updates here before travelling.

• Have the delays caused you problems? Email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

34 comments

  • Have to agree with anon. Rail travel is a product, not a public service. You make your own market decision whether to buy the product or not. It's called choice.

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    marty r

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

  • Comparison - try googling "railstaff 10 April 2013"......Article titled "Northern Ireland Railways: Europe's untold success story"....Unable to post link to this article

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    marty r

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

  • Don’t like commuting to work on the train then you have three options…. 1. Move closer to your place of work. 2. Change job so you work closer to home. 3. Carry on paying extortionate fares for an outdated service

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    anon

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

  • Jennifer Jane, I have the good fortune to travel extensively and the UK rail system is by far the worst of the so called " Developed countries". And in some instances worse than the so called " undeveloped countries". The one thing that stops the UK system improvming is to continually ignore the system as essential . Most countries accept that a good rail system is essential and must be paid for. Not necessarily be profitable. We have privatisation of the worst kind and the taxpayer is still having to pay four billion pounds a year to the private companies. Companies that pay enormous executive wages and bonuses. Price hiking annually is the norm and the the service is getting worse. Politicians of all parties have caused this mess. As usual.

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    stormy

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

  • How are other countries rail networks run. track and rolling stock run by separate companies , nationalised or not. Not interested In the political aspect just wondering how it works good or bad.

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    jennifer jane

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • This is a genmeral election issue and as much as some do not like the Green party or his transport spokesperson Rupert Read, their policy of re-nationalisation is the only progressive policy out there. It is ridiculous to think that 1000 companies could work together and make for an on time rail service. More trains and regular maintenance means more staff, the opposite to what is happening, staff is cut and people are forced back into congestion and polluting.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • C'mon people - it's private so it's more efficient this way. Don't want to go back to the "bad old days" of one single operator now, do we ;-)............................. And unfair to blame the Tories alone. Labour are enthusiastic supporters of franchising and fragmentation of services......................................Britain's railways - aspiring to Third World status! Lol.

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    marty r

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • @che bramley - yes, I think we all know it's Network Rail's fault the engineering work overran, but when you've paid "Greater" Anglia £7k a year and they leave you stranded with no information time and time again, albeit due to one of their suppliers, then you have every right to blame them and not their supplier. To use your (misleading) car analogy, it's like buying a car from Ford, and when the tyres all perish after a month, they just say "It's nothing to do with us, it was our tyre supplier's fault". It wouldn't happen because they take responsibility for the whole product they are taking your money for to purchase. If you are selling a product then you are responsible for it - you can't just shift the blame onto someone else.

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    Norfolk and Good

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • SM - absolutely, if you pay Abysmallio then your contract is with them to provide the service (I can't believe you have to pay £7000pa to use this shambles, legalised extortion!), who the sub-contractor's, sub-contractor's, sub-contractor is isn't your concern. Indeed that's a large part of the problem with the not fit for purpose rail infrastructure in this country, hollow apologies & passing the buck, while each link in the sub-contractor gravy train takes their profit out, another shining example of Tory privatisation at the expense of consumers. Would it not be cheaper (and more reliable) to club together with other season ticket holders & hire transport with a driver ?

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    DocScott

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Land fit for Heroes - Broken Britain - A travesty Most expensive fares in Europe, worst services, most delays and breakdowns. I feel sorry for people working on the front line who have to face the wrath of the customers. Meanwhile the faceless ones and shareholders pick up big bonuses and dividends. This is having a serious knock on effect on other businesses and our economy. Time our elected MPs got off their butts and sorted this out once and for all. Totally unacceptable . The service as it is - is Cr4p !

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    Grey Fox

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Che - you don't understand contract law do you?

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    SM

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • No. I already have a 2 hour door-door commute from Diss to London, and I live a 3 minute walk from Diss Station.

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    Alex Kelly

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • SM Abello are responsible for the rolling stock, so yes if a train has a breakdown then it is for them to compensate. Anything to do with the overhead lines, signals, track is down to Network Rail not Abello. I suppose if you brought a Car and the road surface damaged your wheels, you would go back and blame the car manufacturer.

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    che bramley

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Maybe the Norwich in 90 Campaign meant the number of years before it will finally happen, not how many minutes it would take from London to Norwich.

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    che bramley

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • I agree with Lionel "This incompetence has got to stop!" So the ultimate responsibility for a fragmented and privatised railway system lie with those who privatised and fragmented the system. Who would that be then? Oh yes a government during the 1990s.Now what were they called?

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    eagleye

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • The curse of "Norwich in 90" strikes again.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • I lost a day's pay despite paying over £7k in fares.

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    SM

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • I pay my exorbitant fare to Abellio - Abellio is therefore responsible - sub contracting is not an excuse - basic third party law.

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    SM

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • It would be a lot easier to run a story when there is NOT disruption on this line, the appalling service (not) provided and the extortionate fares are utterly disgraceful, I'm sure many third world countries have more reliable train infrastructure. You have to book 6 months in advance to have a chance of getting a reasonably priced ticket, and even then chances are it will be cancelled or delayed on the day, I really feel for people who have to use this appalling excuse for a train service every day!

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    DocScott

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Perhaps more direct trains to London should run on the Norwich CambridgeLondon line. I may be wrong but think it was the first NorwichLondon link. People living in Diss could then have a choice wait at Diss or drive 30mins or so to Thetford Stowmarket residents have similar choice of journey to Ipswich and Thetford is not that far. Just a thought. I appreciate it doesn't help the commuters who walk to Diss or Stowmarket station but it is an alternative for many from what I have seen of the car parks. Also perhaps the work schedulers at Network Rail should get their act together and learn from this disruption.I hope staff on this job hadn't been moved to cover the problems on the East Coast line.

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    jennifer jane

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Decided lack of the 5 P's - Previous Planning Prevents Poor Performances! If you are to integrate a new system with existing systems a degree of planning and testing is required and should be carried our prior to the work commencing. Obviously none of the MP's in the area are using the service as the priority for some seems to be for supporting the debate to allow standing at football grounds. Could they not apply themselves to the case of the standing commuters suffering at the hands of Network Rail!

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    PeterM

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • I supposed this are the reasons why green commuters should pay and extra 3% for their already exhorbitant fares. If Abelio would operate sucure in Holland they would be severely reprimanded by Dutch politicians. Netwaork Rail their sub and sub sub contractor culture are responsible and should pay compensation for when people are late to work or get a bad record for coming late. Delayed trains are not an act of god, and people have been sacked for coming late due to this bad saga continuing.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Perhaps if they modernised the line instead of the current sticking plaster approach to keep it running. If you used the service everyday you would understand the frustrations of the majority of people on here. As for the weather, I am pretty sure Network Rail are capable of checking the forecast.

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    smithap

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • One excuse after another, given the cost I pay for my season ticket I expect a better service. I find the apologies from Abellio and Network Rail hollow as these problems are becoming more and more frequent. Until real investment is made on the infrastructure these problems are going to continue. These needs the actions of the local MP's, but they aren't doing anything about it. What happened to the Norwich in 90 campaign?

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    smithap

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Would people like to be reminded it has nothing to do with Greater Anglia or Abello. This is down to Network Rail who maintain the Tracks and Signals, overhead Cables. Broken down Trains yes that is where GA or Abello are then to blame. Clearly if you cannot work out the difference between a Train Operators obligations and obligations of Network Rail and what they are responsible for how on earth do you have the Brain Capacity to have a job in London?

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    che bramley

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Broken promises remain, broken Britain again. Disgraceful and disrespectful.

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    Whiley Boy

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • What a Mickey Mouse train line this is, GRIMMER ANGLIA strikes again

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    Barny

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • This incompetence has got to stop... compensation must be paid to travellers with prepaid tickets... twice the ticket fare is a good start.... The amount of trouble to travellers is no longer acceptable .... do less work in the time slot to make sure travellers are not affected..... BASIC LOGIC... something major is wrong with all this service working time setup failures that is so obvious. Missed appointment, missed plane travel connections and theatre shows, and spoilt days out ... excuses are no longer acceptable... put more workers on the job or reduce the work load... simple logic..... you customers are paramount... so as already said ..twice ticket cost must be paid in compensation in future... just supplying a coach is no longer an acceptable alternative as standard option given... do the work in a achievable time .. this setup is just stupid... and disgraceful... I know UK standards are poor , but enough is enough... heads must start to roll....

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    Lionel

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Complaints when the work doesn't get done, complaints when it does. Some people are never satisfied. Would you rather travel on unmaintained rails? I wouldn't. They went over their estimated time limit, so what. Is it any surprise with the weather we had over the weekend or is that Network Rail's fault too?

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    munchkin2306

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Not again! When will they get it right?

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    Disgusted of Norwich South

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • It's what happens when you are continually trying to patch up a antiquated system that is not fit for the 21 century.

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    Catton Man

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • 'It won't happen again ..' is a blatant lie, isn't it? Better to go by road - sometimes!! At least there are usually more options to divert. Once on a train you are stuck. And now the A47 is partly blocked ...

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    Patrick

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • I'm sure I read an article like this about Greater (than what?) Anglia in the EDP at the start of every working week!

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    Citizen of EUSSR

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • Disgraceful state of affairs, how many times has this happened, dreadful for both commuters and those that have taken a valuable day off work for a day in London.

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    blister

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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